The Archbishop of York Youth Trust has awarded a £3000 grant this month to a play scheme run at a local primary school by Christ Church, Norris Green. Norris Green, Liverpool is in the top 5% of most deprived areas in the country with some parts of the parish in the top 1%.
The play scheme was set up in 2006. It runs for three weeks over the summer holidays and provides local children with a safe place to play. This summer over 150 children registered with the play scheme and up to 85 children attended each day.
Christ Church Norris Green has recruited more than 40 volunteers from their church and the local community to help with the scheme.
The Reverend Helen Edwards, Vicar at Christ Church, said: “Whole generations of the local community are involved, from the children aged 5 upwards, returning young leaders at secondary school age who are coming back as role models for the younger children, volunteers who give up their annual leave entitlement to serve, and older members (some of whom are over 80) help with our refreshments! The cost of providing stimulating craft, sport and day trips is significant and funding is getting much harder. Without the support from organisations like the Youth Trust, we could not provide the high standard of activities which engage the children and help them build their confidence”.
This summer, 12 young people enrolled to the Youth Apprentice scheme and they have been involved in running craft, sports and music activities, helping in the kitchen and setting up the venue – all whilst being mentored by one of the senior staff volunteers.
Joanne McHugh said: “I have been at the play scheme from the beginning, and have come back each year and it’s been invaluable to me. As a child myself, I would struggle to talk to anyone and was really shy. By being encouraged here to get involved and to talk to others in different age groups, it’s really given me confidence. I’m about to leave secondary school – so there are lots of skills I have learnt here that will help me with the future. It’s the second year that I have volunteered as a Youth Apprentice and I hope to be back for many years to come!”
Dan Finn, Director of the Youth Trust said: “As a Trust, we are passionate about young people and helping them to engage with their local community. We are also actively seeking to support more youth projects that encourage children and young people to engage with their local area and ‘be the change they want to see’. The play scheme at Christchurch Norris Green is exceptional – it is a real highlight for so many people in the local community. It’s been great to support this project through our grant making programme.”